Chapter 6, Part IV: A Decent Docent

While the Talons ran around completing quests for the citizens of Boymin, Vance was at the Thistle House, meeting with one of his old Troupe Members. Simon Phoenix, the Saxabone player for the Mystic Crescendo, let him know that the troupe was missing. They had previously had a show in Brimhold, the capital of Gragthar, but had not been seen since. They missed multiple shows in Solendia, which was completely unlike them. Simon was concerned and tried to visit Brimhold in order to inquire about his troupe, but the poison veil had begun to spill into Gragthar, creating a dangerous situation for any citizen trying to traverse the land. Simon described the land as rotting, trees and other flora almost appearing to melt, and the smell was fouler than he'd ever experienced. Just recounting it to Vance turned his stomach.

Vance told him that he and his party were trying to right some of the trouble in the world, and that this was likely all part of that. He promised to talk to the rest of his crew to see if Gragthar could be their next destination.

Vance also invited Simon to come live at the Wiltspar. Simon agreed to take a look, and would be happy to go once the recruiter from Wiltspar came to escort him there.

Vance and Simon then gave a rousing performance at the Thistle House, getting a lovely tip from the crowd.

The Talons met up with Vance, who introduced them to Simon. Simon, a big fan of the Gladiatorial Grand Slam, complimented Blake on his work before giving the group the same update he gave to Vance.

The talons then headed to the AGI in order to turn in their quest, and they are greeted by a cheerful Jodi who congratulated them on their hard work and dedication to the AGI, and told them that they have attained Guild Level 2. At Guild Level 2, they received upgrades to their equipment, and they are asked to hire a docent for their group.

A docent is an asset to any Adventuring Party. They would act as the manager or agent for the party, and contribute in many ways to their overall success. The docent's main responsibilities are:

  • Finding and maintaining a base
  • Managing (at appropriate Guild Level) items, money, and other valuables sent to them.
  • Organizing information and redacting any information that the party does not want the AGI to have access to.
  • Answering questions.
  • Handling administrative tasks from the AGI.
  • Assisting with collecting AGI resources.
  • Giving advice as a seasoned adventurer.

Jodi then gave the Talons a list of Guild Level 5 adventurers in the area who had applied to be a docent. The Talons took the list, and made note of the name Faraday Lawson, the owner of the Gladiatorial Grand Slam who was currently, as far as the Talons knew, trying to kill Blake for violating his contract. They unanimously decided it was best not to call him up for an interview.

Before interviewing any of the candidates, the Talons headed back to the Wiltspar, where a nervous Jonas waited for them. On their Disc Chord, Jonas had requested that the Talons use the fruit they found at the latest Wiltspar event to attempt to bring his daughter, Callista, back fro the dead. Callista had been devoured by a Maurezhi, and he felt the only chance they had to get her back was through this fruit. Xerxes regaled his team with the story of Spriggit and Genesis and the revival fruit to set the scene for the miracle they were about to attempt.

The Talons were hesitant, but willing, and brought her ashes and the juice of the fruit into the open area behind the bank. Penelope, Chauncey and Ollie joined them, ready to take down the maurezhi if that was the creature that returned instead of Callista.

As you pour the juice of the fruit onto the ashes, you watch, anxiously, as time seems to slow. And you realize, almost all at once, that it isn't just in your mind and that, in fact, time is coming to a screeching halt in front of you. Penelope, Chauncey, Ollie and Mr Bones are frozen in various positions. The sand caught in the wind remains poised in the air, the fire under the hearth outside of The Wiltsbar is still, suspended in a motionless wave. All around you, the town is paused, except, of course, for the 6 of you. And then you hear. "Now, now, before we get out of hand, let's think about the paths that lay before you." And when you turn toward the voice, you see three individuals floating just behind you. One is an old woman with long silvery white hair, in her hand a wooden staff with an hourglass atop it. Beside her are two others. One is a person of indeterminate gender in long, flowing robes made up of a kaleidoscope of colors, and the other is a young woman in a gauzy gray gown and head veil, and you cannot tell where the veil ends and her long whisps of dusty gray hair begins. She holds a lantern that glows with a soft white light.

The Talons were able to identify these entities as Nova, Genesis, and Phasma, three of the domain deities of Fynali. Firebrook recalled that the three of these gods-- one representing time, one representing life, and one representing death-- were known in tales to work together and were often depicted as The Fates.

Here, they offered assistance to the Talons, knowing that a wrong choice at this crossroads could have unparalleled repercussions. Nova made a claim that the death of Callista occurred where the gods were not permitted to see or go, and so they were willing to do what they normally did not: interfere with the affairs of mortals.

Using their skills in Religion, Nature, Arcana, and History, Drez, Nohki, Firebrook, and Xerxes chose a life thread that they believed belonged to Callista. Vance, Drez, and Xerxes, with aid from Blake, Nohki, and Firebrook, worked carefully to unweave her life thread from the tangled mess and ashes of the maurezhi and the undead skeletons who had littered the battle field when the maurezhi fell. The group only disturbed the souls a handful of times during this task, saving themselves some painful consequences later.

Phasma congratulated them on their success and warned that that while she rebuilt Callista's soul in the spirit lantern, that nothing was to disturb her. Any knocks against the lantern would potentially corrupt her delicate work.

As the Talons guarded the lantern, they began to see the undead creatures appear around them, a large and familiar Death Knight rising to the front of the pack.

The Platinum Talons fought heroically against them, working to keep the creatures from smashing into the lantern or disturbing Phasma's work. They were skilled enough that the creatures were only able to get 2 hits against the lantern during this battle.

Vance dealt the killing blow to the death knight, ending the battle and saving the lantern any more damage.

When Phasma emerged again, she told them the re-creation was a success, and that her soul should be intact. She weaved it into the life thread, and suddenly, The Fates were gone, and time had started one again. The juice of the revitalization fruit mixed with the ashes, and the young girl, Callista, reformed before them.

She didn't seem to know what had happened, and, mercifully, the Talons told her that she had been asleep for a long time after she went off to the ruins. She promised not to go exploring alone anymore, and rushed off to see her father.

Following their incredible success at casual necromancy, the Talons then transitioned into a completely different task: Job interviews.

first interview was with a woman known only as Oona. They found her at a table inside of the AGI, her long black hair hanging limply around her gaunt face, rife with the most neutral expression they had ever seen another person wear.

Her monotonous voice and short responses inexplicably endeared her to the Talons, who asked her all levels of questions from "What can you do for us?" to "Do you like our mechanical cat?" Her answers were often concise, violent, egg-based, and/or egomaniacal, though she did display competency as an adventurer, a magic wielder, and possibly a docent.

While the Talons headed off to see the second docent on their list of candidates, Morok Stone, the Director of Operations at Brawlmart, Firebrook headed over to see Holden Veeps, who was in the midst of repairing his ship. Firebrook invested another 200 GP with him in hopes to reap larger benefits when the merchant was up and running again.

Once inside Brawlmart, they asked the young woman who welcomed them in if Morok was available. Happy to be of assistance, the woman--whose nametag read "Hello, my name is Henrietta"-- led all of the Talons to the back of the store to a hallway of offices and knocked on Morok's door.

Behind the door, you hear a loud, short pop and then an even louder bang. Henrietta shrieks as the door flies open and a thick cloud of black smoke begins to fill the hallway. From the plume, you see a short, wide dwarven man waving his hands around to clear the smoke, a wholly ineffective tactic, before he rounds on the six of you as if he didn't potentially cause an explosion inside of Brawlmart. He is wearing a pair of brass-framed goggles and as he takes them off and puts them on the top of his wild mane of singed red hair, you can see that the only places on his face that are not covered in a layer of black soot are the two perfect circles around his eyes where the goggles had been just a moment ago. He holds a sooty hand out to Nohki and says in a gravelly voice, "Adventurers, are you? I sure remember those days. I would invite you into my office to chat, but it'll be a while before the dust really settles. My buddy is out this afternoon, so why don't we just use his office? I'm sure he won't mind. Come on." Without waiting for your response, he begins leading you down the hallway to the door at the very end. In gold plated letters, it reads "Owner of Brawlmart, Charles Jeremiah Brawlton, Jr."

The Platinum Talons conducted the interview on the couches of the surprisingly homey office of CJ Brawlton. Morok was more reserved at first, having received a lot of interest as a potential docent by many of the teams upgrading to AGI Rank 2. But as the Platinum Talons talked more and regaled him with stories of their successes, including one particularly noteworthy declaration from Vance, Morok seemed to take a more genuine interest in their team.

He explained that he had been a docent before, and sadly lost his team to the poison veil about 2 seasons back. He also said that he had a base of operations for them at all 11 Brawlmart locations. He said he was an artificer and would be happy to make some upgrades to get them something that could "fly and swim and whatever the hell else" the Talons wanted. The Talons left the interview feeling strongly about Morok and his ability to act as their docent.

Xerxes asked why his cap of water breathing that he has purchased from Brawlmart broke, and Morok told him that the mission of the establishment was to provide access to adventuring gear to people at all walks of life and incomes, and that when you're trying to make magic items available to everyone at an affordable price, you have to make some sacrifices.

Nohki and Blake were the only two of the group that voiced some hesitance about Morok as a choice. Nohki used the cap of water breathing as an analogy for the kind of work he might provide to them: sounding too good to be true.

Their next stop on the docent circuit was a half-elf woman named Candice Cully, who worked for a company called Wondrously International. When they first approached her, she seemed more interested in selling the products on her wagon. Once she realized they were there to interview her for docentship, she was happy to answer their questions. The Talons learned that she would allow them access to a mobile base that had the potential to upgrade to survive underwater travel as well as air travel at higher levels. She also is extremely organized and, despite the ditzy act, seemed to be rather capable. One of the tasks she mentioned that her and her adventuring party completed was discovering an underwater society and helping to create a new governmental system for the people there. She also felt that her skills were in knowing or charming people, and that if she didn't know the right information, that she would be able to at least know who to ask. Before leaving Candice, Blake purchased one of her potions, "Unnerve" which boasted a boost to the intimidation stat.

The party also interviewed Nolan Ravenshield, a Paladin and former captain of the Platinum Watch. Nolan is an older human man who is skilled in combat as well as international diplomacy and has good relationships with many world leaders. He has a base of operations at the border of Crystalia and Evervale, an old family castle that he would allow them to repurpose for their own use. He mentioned that his grandmother had previously been a Wiltspar guardian and cleric, and that he had made some good relationships with armorers and weaponsmiths around the world. If chosen as a docent, he would be willing to assist with brokering a deal with these craftsmen to get unused supplies to the Wiltspar.

Ashling Birch was interviewed outside of a Boymin. Ashling, a Circle of the Land druid and human in her mid-forties explained that she was a survivalist that was deeply connected to the earth and nature. She previously lived a nomadic lifestyle, and continued to do so even after reaching AGI Rank 5. One of the tools she used, and would be willing to procure for the Talons, was a magical tent that allowed her to keep her living environment virtually undisturbed even when packed up and carried from one location to another. She mentioned that there were some upgrades that could be possible that would help the tent and its inhabitants survive more extreme conditions, like the cold, heat, high altitudes, and underwater. Her skillset would assist them with identifying flora and fauna across Fynali as well as helping them to determine the path of safest passage.

Completed: February 2024